Business

Economists predict more consumer spending

In a survey, 49 economists said they expect consumer spending to rise about 2.3 percent this year.

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press/File 2013

In a survey, 49 economists said they expect consumer spending to rise about 2.3 percent this year.

WASHINGTON — Consumer spending is likely to pick up this year, while government spending declines at a faster rate, according to a survey of business economists.

The economists predict that the US economy will grow 2.4 percent this year and 3 percent next year. That’s unchanged from their forecast in February.

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But they are more bullish on consumer spending and housing than they were three months ago, in part because of a more positive view about unemployment.

The survey was released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics, which periodically surveys economists for banks, manufacturers, and universities.

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The 49 economists, who were questioned between April 16 and 30, predicted that consumer spending will rise 2.3 percent this year, up from a forecast of 1.9 percent in February.

While consumers might spend more, the government sector is expected to shrink 2.3 percent this year — sharper than the 1 percent cut that the economists predicted in February, before a series of automatic­ federal spending cuts kicked in when Congress and the White House failed to reach a deal to avoid them.

Associated Press

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